Let’s dive in.
1. The gaming giant behind “Grand Theft Auto” is buying “Farmville” developer Zynga. The company, Take-Two Interactive, announced its plans to acquire Zynga, one of the world’s biggest mobile game makers, in a deal worth $12.7 billion.
- While Zynga’s primary name recognition comes from the hit “Farmville” franchise, it also owns “Words with Friends” and has built out mobile games from “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars.”
- The deal, expected to close in June, marks a blockbuster acquisition for the video game industry — outstripping Microsoft’s $7 billion purchase of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Skyrim-maker Bethesda.
- Going forward, Zynga’s thousands of employees will work on the creation of new mobile games for Take-Two’s iconic franchises.
In other news:
2. New year, new CEO: Signal’s top exec steps down. In a blog post Monday, CEO Moxie Marlinspike announced his resignation. As the company looks for a replacement, WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton will serve as the interim chief executive. Get the full rundown here.
3. Amazon is officially changing how it distributes stock to employees. According to an internal memo, the company will allow employees to take longer leaves of absence before pausing their stock vesting schedules, in addition to other changes. More on the changes intended to “make every day better for employees.”
4. New details have emerged about Google’s secret anti-union campaign. Per Vice, one Google exec said the campaign, dubbed “Project Vivian,” was supposed to convince employees “that unions suck.” Read the latest developments.
5. Facebook’s recently granted patents give a glimpse of what the future of the metaverse might look like. Numbering in the hundreds, the patents offer an idea of what could come, ranging from smaller headsets to hyper-realistic avatars and clothing that would require body mapping. None mentioned privacy or safety, the chief concerns of the metaverse. What we learned from Facebook’s patents.
6. Amazon workers who contract COVID-19 will now get less paid leave. Following revised guidance from the CDC, Amazon has reduced its paid time off policy for employees with COVID-19 from 10 to seven days. What we know about the new policy.
7. Google’s salary hike for execs triggers criticism from rank-and-file staff. Some Googlers are raising questions, as the compensation bump came months after Google announced it would cut pay for fully remote workers and reports found it failed to properly compensate thousands of workers. See what employees are saying about pay.
8. A Google exec slammed Apple over its blue and green text bubbles. Texts between iPhones appear in blue, but messages sent from Android phones appear in green — a feature the Wall Street Journal found to cause social pressure with one Google exec saying it utilizes “peer pressure and bullying.” More on the beef over green bubbles.
9. TikTok is testing its own “retweet” function. Similar to Twitter’s feature, it will allow users to share content with followers without having to send videos one by one — but it won’t add the reposted video to the user’s profile. Instead, it will appear on their followers’ “For You” feeds. Here’s how it’ll work.
10. A Tesla owner says he mines cryptocurrency with his car. The owner of a 2018 Model 3 told CNBC he makes up to $800 a month mining bitcoin and ethereum for about 20 hours a day — but it could void the car’s warranty. Get the details on his “computer with wheels.”
What we’re watching today:
- Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 FE 5G smartphone becomes available in select markets today. More details here.
- Volkswagen is expected to announce the brand’s total vehicle deliveries to customers in 2021.
- Boeing is set to announce Q4 and 2021 deliveries.
- Earnings are expected from Albertsons, among other companies. Keep up with earnings here.
Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email email@example.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Michael Cogley in London.